Editor’s note: This article has been updated since its original print publication date to remove mention of Tre Bradford, who has since left the team.
The new era of LSU football this fall includes more than just fresh faces on the coaching staff.
With the advent of new transfer portal rules in college football, players face less obstacles switching teams during their career, and a slew of players from around the country are joining head coach Brian Kelly for his maiden voyage at the helm of the Tigers.
One of Kelly’s biggest pickups this offseason is Baton Rouge native Noah Cain. The former Penn State running back returns home after spending three seasons with the Nittany Lions.
“LSU presented itself to me as an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, especially with the tradition they have at running back, let alone LSU being my dream school,” Cain says. “It was a perfect situation to come into.”
Born in Baton Rouge, Cain moved to Dallas with his mother in 2006, but split time between the two cities to visit his father, who lives in Louisiana’s capital. Cain began his high school career in Texas before transferring to IMG Academy, the football powerhouse in Florida.
As a freshman at Penn State in 2019, Cain set the school freshman touchdown record with eight scores. His sophomore campaign was cut short when he was injured on the first drive of the season opener. Last season, Cain rushed for more than 300 yards and four touchdowns and caught 19 passes for over 110 yards.
“LSU presented itself to me as an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, especially with the tradition they have at running back, let alone LSU being my dream school.”
“I’m an all-around back, who can catch, block and run, who can contribute in all different phases of the game and can really have a positive impact on my team,” Cain says.
Cain joins a group of LSU running backs without a clear, established bell cow.
Senior John Emery Jr. is the presumptive leader to grab the bulk of the carries, but missed the entire 2021 season because of academic issues, and has yet to live up to the lofty expectations he arrived with out of high school. Sophomore Armoni Goodwin has shown flashes of potential but has yet to fully break out during his time in purple and gold.
Having enjoyed success and faced adversity at his previous stop, Cain believes he will be able to complement his new running back teammates.
“With Armoni being a speedster (and) John having great all-around ability within the game, I can add a great piece to the puzzle to help the room get better,” Cain says.
Cain believes his greatest strength as a running back to be his vision and feet, using those tools to make defenders miss and break tackles. As he gets ready for his first season donning an LSU uniform, he’s counting down the days until he gets the chance to take the field in Tiger Stadium.
“I can’t even describe it,” Cain admits. “I can’t even picture it. I can’t wait for that moment to happen. I’m working every day towards it. I know when it happens, I’m going to be really excited, having chills walking down that hill. I’m excited to be able to put that purple and gold on. It’s going to be an incredible feeling.”
This article was originally published in the August 2022 Tiger Pride issue of 225 magazine.